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Elizabeth Smart on Empowering Victims and Educating Active Bystanders

Episode 89

Elizabeth Smart on Empowering Victims and Educating Active Bystanders

Trigger warning: The following podcast episode contains discussions of child sexual abuse and sex trafficking. Listener discretion is advised.

The abduction of Elizabeth Smart was one of the most followed child abduction cases of our time. Elizabeth was 14 years old when she was abducted from her home on June 5, 2002, and endured daily sexual assault, starvation, and abuse for 9 grueling months. Fortunately, due in large part to help from active bystanders, the police safely returned Elizabeth back to her family on March 12, 2003.

Now a mother of three, Elizabeth discusses her work at the Elizabeth Smart Foundation to bring hope to sexual assault through education, healing, and advocacy. Elizabeth discusses the role active bystanders had in her rescue, how pornography aided in her grooming and abuse, and the importance of having open and honest conversations with your children about the dangers online.


Introduction (00:00):
Elizabeth was 14 years old when she is abducted from her home on June 5th, 2002. For the next nine months, she endured daily sexual assault, starvation, and abuse at the hands of her captors. Fortunately, due in large part to help from active bystanders, the police safely returned Elizabeth back to her family on March 12th, 2003. In this episode, Elizabeth discusses her work at the Elizabeth Smart Foundation to bring hope to sexual assault through education, healing, and advocacy. Listen, as Elizabeth discusses the role active bystanders had in her rescue, how pornography aided in her grooming and abuse, and the importance of having open and honest conversations with your children about the dangers online.

With that, let’s jump into the conversation. We hope you enjoy this episode of Consider Before Consuming.

Fight The New Drug (00:57):
Elizabeth, thank you so much for sharing some of your time with us today. I am personally really excited to get to talk with you more about the amazing work that you and your team are doing at the Elizabeth Smart Foundation. And I think our audience is really going to benefit from hearing your unique perspectives and the insight that you can offer on these issues. So thank you so much.

Elizabeth Smart (01:18):
Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Fight The New Drug (01:21):
To just dive right in. For anyone who is maybe less familiar with your story, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, who you are, kind of how you got involved in this work that you’re doing today?

Elizabeth Smart (01:33):
My name’s Elizabeth Smart, as you said. Most people know me from my 2002 abduction, I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. I grew up in a nice neighborhood. I don’t think anyone ever thought anything bad happened in, in Salt Lake. Definitely not in my neighborhood, at least if things were happening that were bad, it was always behind closed doors. It was not public knowledge. And so it was shocking. It was a complete shock to everyone when I was kidnapped out of my house, outta my bed in the middle of the night at knife point that was certainly nothing that I ever dreamed would happen to me, and certainly nothing my family ever dreamed that would happen to us. I was then taken up into the mountains behind my home where I was held captive for the next nine months where I mean, I was raped and abused and chained up.

And during that time, my captors took me to California for the winter because quite frankly, we, we would not have survived Utah winter up in the mountains outside. And then we came back to Utah, which is when people, honestly, they were active bystanders, people who had paid attention picked up the phone, called the police, and said, I think I just saw Elizabeth Smart. And that eventually led to my rescue and my reunion with my, with my family. And my life since then, I mean, is definitely not perfect. And certainly no family is perfect, but I feel extremely lucky to have had the family that I have had and the support that I’ve received, because I honestly do think that having support makes all the difference in the world for anyone who’s going through anything, but especially survivors of sexual assault of violent crime. I think having that support is key to healing and being able to really move forward with your life. And so I think that’s yeah, that’s probably what most people know me for.

Fight The New Drug (03:42):
And tell us a little bit about your life now. You’re a mom. Tell us a little bit about what you like to do now.

Elizabeth Smart (03:49):
So I am, I am a mom. I’ve got three kids, and I, I like to be at home. I am a homebody. I like to spend time with my kids. We like to go skiing together in the winter, and we like to go boating together in the summer. And we like, I don’t know, cuddling on the sofa, eating popcorn, and watching movies. Yeah, I do not like laundry. And I, yeah, I, I love being alive.

Fight The New Drug (04:30):
Yeah. Well obviously you’re, you’ve been through so much, you’ve experienced so much and it’s given you such a unique ability to address these issues that you’re addressing now at the Elizabeth Smart Foundation and the work you do, the advocacy work you do on issues of sexual assault. And I’m curious to know, as a parent and a survivor, what advice would you give to parents who are trying to navigate this world right now and, and protect their kids and navigate social media and everything that’s happening in the digital age that makes this so complicated? What advice would you give to parents?

Elizabeth Smart (05:09):
Well, first of all, I mean, if anyone has advice they wanna share with me, like, please send it my way because everyone asks me this question. Honestly, I’ve only been a parent, my oldest is eight, so I’ve only been a parent now for eight years. Obviously, there are parents out there who have way more experience than me. So if anyone has any thoughts themselves, don’t be shy, send ’em my way. I’m always looking for more advice. But I feel like the best advice and kind of what I’ve learned along the way that I would venture to share is that having honest communication and ongoing communication with your kids is key. Because no matter how many safeguards you put in place, which safeguards are great, love them, fan of ’em, but no matter how safeguards you, you put in place, like you, you’ll never have total safety over your child.

They’ll have access to, you know, computer or the internet at school or at a friend’s house or a friend’s phone or I mean, even if you give them like limited access phones, like that’s awesome. Yeah. And that’s great. And you know, I support that. But even still, like there is always a way for your child to access social media or, or whatever it is, you, you can’t stop them. So the best thing that you really can do is to educate them, is to be open with them, to have that communication going and talk about, I mean, be real with them. Like talk about the dangers that are out there. Talk about why it’s important, how this can have long-term effects how, I mean, how it might affect their future, why this is good or why this is bad. And allow them to talk back to you so that they’re, if something does happen, when I say talk back, I don’t mean rude, I just mean like Sure.

Give you their, give you their opinion and their side of things and Right. Have it be kind of a conversation going both ways. So it’s not just you constantly like talking at them but you’re talking with them and so that you’re continuing those, those conversations. So if heaven forbid anything ever does happen, they feel like they can come to you and that you won’t, I don’t know, immediately go on like the attack or that you’ll immediately like, you know, get upset, but that, you know, you can listen to them and you can help them navigate it them through. So I feel like that’s been some good advice. And then the other really good advice that I’ve been given was when someone told me, when your child starts asking questions, that is the right time to have those conversations, which that is actually a very scary kind of concept for me.

Cause I’m like, I mean, when my oldest was three, she started asking questions and I was like, I am like, me personally, I am not ready to discuss this with my child yet. Wow. But she’s asking me like, she’s a, like, how does she even know to ask? What is she even asking? So trying to figure out how to be able to talk with them about whatever it is they ask you questions about, but also doing it in like an age appropriate, sensitive manner. And you as their parent, hopefully know your child better than anyone else. So hopefully, you know, the best way to approach this topic and how much is too much or how much is enough. Because if, I mean, if you don’t answer those questions, then they’ll go somewhere else and ask those same questions and maybe get information in a different form that you wouldn’t necessarily choose for them.

Fight The New Drug (08:50):
I think first of all, I’m sure it will feel so validating for so many parents to hear from you as someone who’s so well versed as an advocate addressing these issues that like, you’re also seeking a advice because it’s a really challenging landscape, I think, for a lot of parents and just a lot of people generally to navigate right now. But I also think it’s such good advice to start those ongoing conversations about any of these topics. And at Fight the New Drug, our mission is focused, you know, we’re all addressing sexual exploitation within this movement, but we are focused a little bit more specifically on pornography. And I think everything you just said about knowing when to have these age appropriate conversations and to have ongoing conversations is so important, especially when discussing pornography. And a lot of people might not realize how closely connected pornography is to sexual assault and sex trafficking and sexual violence. And this broader spectrum of sexual exploitation, the role that pornography plays within that. Can you speak a little bit to that?

Elizabeth Smart (09:52):
I mean, I can speak from, from experience. My captors when I was kidnapped, they would, I mean, the first day, the morning that he kidnapped me, he raped me. I mean, almost as soon as we got into camp, which in my mind I genuinely thought that was the worst thing that could ever happen to me, I was like, okay, I’ve hit rock bottom. I mean, it was very much not in a rational mindset at that moment. Now as I’m speaking about, I sound very calm at the time I was not, but I eventually did get to this point of thinking, okay, this is rock bottom, this, like, nothing can be worse than this. Like it can only go from there. But then, you know, the next day or a couple days, no, it’s like the next day, you know, they forced me to go naked all day, forced me to watch them have sex, and then forced, then I was raped again.

And then that day I thought, well, this is the worst. And then it was, they introduced drinking alcohol, which, you know, I was, I was raised Mormon, I never had a drink in my life. I mean, I had no plans of drinking. And, and I just remember feeling like that was devastating. And then, you know, and then they’d rape me after that, and then they introduced marijuana and, and it just seemed to like progressively get worse. And eventually, I genuinely did feel like I had hit rock bottom and I’d been kidnapped. I’d been away I for probably six months. And I remember at that point just being like, okay, I’ve, I’ve survived six months. Like, what could possibly be worse? I’ve been through so much already, what could possibly be worse? And I remember it was while we were in California and they were looking for a new hiding place because where we originally had been hidden it was, I don’t know, seasons were changing or it was, I don’t know, delicate landscaping.

And we were becoming more and more exposed. And I remember we were hiking, I mean, up this difficult, difficult mountain. It was very, very hard to get up. And there were these huge, just really random boulders. And I remember my captors saying, oh, well maybe, you know, we’ll find some like rock shelter, or maybe we’ll find some kind of cave that we can stay in. And I remember there was this one, one boulder in particular that it did have a decent amount of space underneath it that you could crawl into. And my captor at first was like, oh, well, this might be a place where we could sleep at night. So you go ahead and you crawl in there and you know, go, go check it out. So I crawled in there. I mean, there was if anyone’s thinking, oh, why didn’t you escape?

At that point? That was not an option. I’m, if you think that I’m not painting the right picture. But it was, I remember sliding in underneath this boulder. And funnily enough, there was like a belt under there. There was a couple shoes, and then there was a, a magazine. And I remember thinking, this is so random. Like, first of all, this is so difficult to get to this place. I mean, how on earth did anyone get up? And then they le what, they left their shoes and a belt blew what’s going on? And then I was like, oh, well there’s a magazine, like what? Like what on earth are they looking at? And so I scooted a little bit closer and I opened, like the magazine, it was kind of, it was, it wasn’t preserved that great. So I kind of opened it up and inside were pictures of hardcore pornography.

And I just remember being so shocked. I just like climbed out of this hole under this boulder as quickly as I could. And I was like, oh. I was like, oh, you don’t wanna go under that, which you would think that I wouldn’t be faced by really anything. And and yet my captor was like, well, well, what’s wrong? What, what was under there? And I was like, oh, well, just, I, it, she just don’t wanna go under there. So of course, I mean, of course he, he slid under there and he was like, oh, oh my goodness. And he came out and he had like this magazine clutch to him, like it was a baby, and he like brought it out and he started staring at it. And just like, just, I, I mean, looking is not even the right word. I mean, he really was just consuming this magazine and looking at it.

And he’d just sit there and he would like talk about the women and how they were displayed and, and talk about their bodies. And, and then he’d be like, this is so important. Like, you just need to see this. And, and he’d just sit there and he’d just look at it. And I mean, as he, after he was looking at it, I mean, he would like, he just, it, it was not enough. It was never enough for him. He could have sex with my other captor, Wanda Barzee, that still wasn’t enough for him. Then he would come and rape me. And many times it led to me being raped multiple times in a day. So speaking from a very personal place, pornography has had a very harmful effect on my life. And that was from someone else consuming it and their actions leading to very destructive moments in my life.

Fight The New Drug (15:33):
I’m so sorry that you had to go through that. And, and I also think it’s, it’s important for people to remember a consumer of pornography today can filter through so much different content in a very short period of time. And that still escalates to the point where that’s not enough in a lot of instances and where something is being acted out on someone else. So I think that’s really powerful and important for a lot of people to, to know that that can happen. I do wanna go back to something you mentioned earlier about how you were able to get back to your family. You mentioned these innocent bystanders were paying attention and they called the police for someone today. How can people learn what to look for? What signs of trafficking look like and also what to do if they suspect that they are seeing trafficking occur?

Elizabeth Smart (16:25):
I mean, bystander awareness is so important. I mean, that is genuinely why I am still alive today because people in my community who were paying attention and they weren’t afraid to call the police and they didn’t just think, oh, well you know, if something’s really wrong, someone else is already called or someone else will thi see it. Like having active bystanders be it part of the community is, is so important. And if you want to become more educated on how to recognize signs of human trafficking or signs of abuse, go to, My foundation, Elizabeth Smart Foundation, joined forces with the Malouf Foundation just over a year ago now. And that is one of our programs that is honestly incredible. We need active bystanders, we need people paying attention. And honestly, it’s just living your life and not being afraid to, to act.

When you see something wrong, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to like, go in there yourself and like tackle someone and like, you know, pin ’em to the ground and zip time until the police show up. That doesn’t en entail all that. Really, that is paying attention. If you see something that seems suspicious, that seems wrong, that seems out of the ordinary call the police, I mean, I am willing to bet that probably 99% of police officers and law enforcement would much rather go and rescue a survivor than hide behind a bend and hand out a speeding ticket. Like I could be wrong, but I just think that probably the majority of them would feel like they’re contributing more to society by rescuing people, by, you know, picking up would be traffickers, you know, would be exploiters. I think I would bet that’s a much more fulfilling job for them than just handing out speeding tickets. So if you see something, just call the police. I mean, the worst, the worst case scenario is that you’re actually right. That is the worst case scenario. The best case scenario is that you’re wrong. That’s what we should all be hoping for. We should hope we’re wrong. But regardless, I mean, it’s just, it’s just so much better to, to be active and to call and and be wrong than do nothing.

Fight The New Drug (18:55):
Yeah, I think that’s such a good reminder. I think a lot of people feel like they’re not educated enough on these topics or like, they must be making something up if they see something that looks suspicious. But I think it’s such good advice to, if you see something, say something, make the call. And also the Onwatch Program that you mentioned is such a good program to educate people to know what to look for and to know how to be more actively involved in addressing these issues. So if you haven’t already checked out that, that program, please do. And also, you mentioned the Elizabeth Smart Foundation. I’m so glad you brought this up. I can’t wait to talk about all the work you’re doing. Can you tell our listeners a little bit about your mission and kind of generally why you decided to start the foundation? I mean, it is obvious based on your personal experience, how you got involved in this work. But really what motivated you to start this and what you’ve been doing since you started this?

Elizabeth Smart (19:49):
So the Elizabeth Smart Foundation is really based on three main pillars, which are education, advocacy, and healing. And then all of our programs kind of revolve around these, these three pillars. And incredibly enough as, as I mentioned, we joined forces with the Malo Foundation just over a year ago. And they’re, they have the same pillars. They were all about education, advocacy, and healing, which is why we thought it was such a good idea because when we come together and we’re all working towards the same ending, I mean, we will get there much faster than if I just continue to bang my head against a brick wall by myself. So it’s very exciting. Some of our programs that I just feel so passionate about and feel so motivated and, and strong about as I mentioned is the, I am on Watch program.

We mentioned that already, but it’s incredible and it’s free and it’s, honestly, it’s not a lot of effort. It’s fairly short. Go take it, please go take it. Another one of our programs is called Smart Defense, which is so awesome. You know, I was on a plane a couple years ago and I fell asleep and I was in first class and I was so tired, I just fell asleep. As soon as I sat down, I fell asleep. And I remember, I don’t know, we must have been, it must have been right before we started, like our initial dissent to landing when I kind of, I woke up and I woke up cause I felt someone’s hand on like the inside of my leg, like my inner thigh. And I was just like, what the heck? And he was reaching across like the, the big armrest, and he was rubbing my inner thigh, and I was so shocked.

I froze, which most people have heard of, you know, our natural responses, like fight or f fight, freeze, wow, fight or flight freeze. And then there’s also appease. But it’s, these responses are controlled by our autonomic nervous system, which means that we don’t consciously, our body just responds. We are not consciously thinking like, okay, okay, the brain’s in control. This is what I’m gonna do. This is our nervous system, just basically taking over. And I froze again. I just could not believe this was happening to me. I didn’t know what to do. I remember looking at this guy, like waiting for him to apologize or give me some, some excuse or some reason or something as to why he was doing this. And he just looked at me, didn’t say anything, didn’t move his hand. So finally I just had to physically pick up his hand and take it off me.

And I was, I was just so shocked I didn’t do anything. I mean, you, you so often think, oh wow, if someone touched me inappropriately, you know, like I’d, I’d slap ’em or I’d scream or I’d do something. And I mean, I definitely thought that too. You know? And I have, like in other instances where I think I’ve been more prepared or I’ve thought through that scenario before, I have responded more in that way that you’d expect. But because I wasn’t prepared for this scenario, I, I just froze. And when I got off the plane, I mean, I, I called my dad, I called my husband, I was like, I just can’t believe this happened. Ended up reporting it to the airline. I reported it to the F.B.I. And, but I just walking out there, I was like, this is not okay.

This is happening to me up in first class, like, what else is happening? And so I said, I just knew I wanted to do something more. So we started a program called Smart Defense, and it’s trauma informed self-defense. It’s a combination of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muai Thai and Krav Maga and our current, or our director of it. I mean, she’s incredible. Her name’s Mio Strong. If you ever have a chance to take a class from her, do it because she is incredible. She is also a survivor. And so taking, taking all of these skills and bringing ’em together, it’s trying to give you the best chance to escape. That is your goal, to get away, to protect yourself. There’s a lot of breath work that we do throughout the class because shockingly, the vast majority of people who come through our class have already been victims of some kind of sexual violence or abuse, but even still, it can be quite intensive.

And so taking that trauma awareness into it and being able to work through it has been really incredible. So that is one of our programs because I don’t want anyone Yeah. To be hurt. I’m, I don’t want to hear, you know, I, like, I, I’m so sad. I’m tired of going to the grocery store and having someone stop me while I’m like getting groceries with kids, hanging off my legs and you know, them telling me how they were abused. I mean, that breaks Yeah. My heart. And I’m like, this isn’t right. Like, enough is enough. And so I want to empower women. And actually it’s really exciting. S u u has actually, or Southern Utah University made smart defense for women an accredited class this past fall, and they’re actually offering it to men, but it’s more of an active bystander awareness class.

How to step in when appropriate how to help when appropriate what to do. That’ll be available this spring. So if anyone’s out there who’s at S u u, definitely go take that class. Yes. but it’s, it’s very exciting. So that’s one of our other programs. And then one of, I, sorry, I can keep going forever, but yeah. Okay. One of our other initiatives that is so, so close to my heart is our We Believe You Campaign. You know, I’ve now traveled to all 50 states. I’ve spoken in all 50 states, and I am so heartbroken because I would say almost every time whenever I have the opportunity to meet people after I speak, someone always comes up to me and tells me how they were abused and then tells me that they’ve never told anyone this. Or when they tried to tell someone they weren’t believed, and how that has then caused them to never share it again or to not reach out and get the help that they need.

So are we Believe You campaign is really twofold. On one hand it is to help survivors know that we believe them, that we are a safe community for them, that we support them, that we are here to help them. They don’t need to be ashamed. They don’t need to know, feel like they can’t speak out. We want them to feel like, like they’re in a world where there is a space for them. On the flip side, everyone knows what to do. If you catch on fire, everyone knows stop, drop and roll, right? Yes, yes. Well, I, who knows what to do if you’ve been raped or who knows what to do when someone discloses abuse to you. Now, I don’t actually know what the statistics are of how many people catch on fire. I don’t, I probably should, I should probably go look that up.

I don’t know. But in all fairness, I don’t think I honestly know anyone who has ever used stop, drop and roll. But statistically, sexual abuse is so prevalent that whether you consciously know of someone who’s been abused or not, you do actually know someone who has been sexually abused. You might just not know it yet. They may not have spoken out about it, but the truth is, you do know someone, hopefully it’s not you. But you do know someone. And so having the some, some guidance or some knowledge on how to respond is, is so important because if you don’t know, I mean, it, it is overwhelming. I mean, even as, even as I wanna say a seasoned survivor who’s had thousands of people disclose to me it’s still hard. I still am like, I, I want to help you. But I honestly, I don’t know how or wow, that that is a lot. Like, I’m like, personally, I’m not even sure if I’m in a place to process all of that right now. So helping to educate community members on how to respond to sexual trauma is also very, very important. Which also leads me to why self-care is so important. Cuz if you are not in a healthy place yourself, that you really won’t be able to be there for anyone else. So take care of yourself and then get educated so that you can be there for those around you.

Fight The New Drug (29:00):
I, I love both of those programs. I think the Smart Defense courses are amazing. I saw a couple of videos where women are practicing saying no. And I think it’s so powerful because just as you mentioned, as someone who’s probably thought a million times, if I’m ever in this situation again, I will defend myself in these ways. I think many women imagine how we would respond just because statistically it’s highly plausible that we could be victims in these ways. And I think that nervous system fight, flight or freeze really dictates so much that I think it’s so powerful to practice saying no yelling, no using your voice. I loved seeing that video of your course and I would love for anyone who’s able to take those courses to please look into them or bring them to your area if possible. But I also think like that leads so beautifully into the We Believe You Campaign, which I love.

And I know so many people when they finally get the courage to speak out about what happened to them you have said before, the worst thing that could happen is that they would not be believed. And I think it’s important for people to really understand how that is, is the most important thing to do first, but then also to be able to learn how to appropriately respond to that disclosure. So I think that’s such a powerful campaign and such an important campaign. And I know on your Smart Talks podcast, you talk a little bit about how anytime believing survivors comes up, people always will bring up what about false supporting? And we get those questions sometimes as well. And I think you’ve spoken to that really well in a way that I think is important for people to hear. Do you mind speaking a little bit to that here?

Elizabeth Smart (30:48):
2% of of all reports are, are false. That is essentially nothing. Like if we’re talking on a grade scale, that means 98% are all true. 98%, that’s an A, that’s almost an a plus. That’s not even an A minus, that’s an a plus. And personally, like do I know people who have lied? Yes, I do. I’ve met enough survivors that yes, I do know people who have lied, but I would rather I would 100 times rather believe someone and then have them be wrong than not believe them and have that person hold in all that pain and not get the help that they need and have it destroy them from the inside out. I would rather be wrong every day of the week than not believe someone who is truly suffering and could choose a very destructive alternative.

Fight The New Drug (31:44):
Yeah. Thank you. And I think you also mentioned, you know, we’ve been talking about how people could respond to survivors by believing them, but you also mentioned self-care is so important and for survivors, I think if we have any survivors listening maybe who have or haven’t spoken about what they’ve been through, what advice would you give to them?

Elizabeth Smart (32:03):
This is your choice. This is up to you. There is no pressure to report it. You don’t have to feel responsible for this person who’s hurt you. And if they go on to hurt other people, that is not on you, that is solely on that person. But there are people out there who can help you. And if you choose to report, then, then that’s great. And if you choose to share, then that is, that is your choice. But there are so many good people in this world there. I truly believe there are more good people than there are bad people. And turn off your social media. Don’t read, don’t go onto social media, don’t read into it cuz that can pull you right back down and find your people, find your family find the people that are gonna be there for you, who are gonna support you. And if you are ready to share your story, then you know, share it with, with belief that you will be believed. Share it with belief that you will be supportive, that supported, that you will be loved, and that there is a way forward that this does not have to hold you back your whole life.

Fight The New Drug (33:21):
Yeah, and I think, I mean, it’s so apparent as you are here with us today and in all of the, the public appearances you have given talking about what you’ve been through, it’s so apparent that you’ve done so much healing and that you have been able to process in healthy ways and take care of yourself along the way. And I, I hope that provides some hope to those who might be considering whether or not that’s something that they, they wanna do. I know it provides a lot of hope to me. And just to know that you’ve really taken an experience that is more horrific probably than most people could even imagine. And it has fueled you to create such positive change in the world and in your community. I mean, having these courses, having you publicly speaking about this experience to raise awareness and also help better prepare people to know how to respond is so important and so powerful. So I just wanna thank you so much for that. Is there anything else before we wrap up that we didn’t share about the foundation, the work that you’re doing, how people can support or anything else you’d like to share?

Elizabeth Smart (34:31):
I would just, I mean, I would just want survivors to know you or victims, really all of us, because at the end of the day, everyone has a story. Un unfortunately, we, all of us go through hard times and we all have those feelings of why is this happening? But I just would encourage people to remember that we are all stronger than we think we are. We can do hard things. It’s not fun. We don’t want to, but we can do them, we can get through it, we can get to the other side. And specifically to people who find themselves in a victimized situation, I would want you to know that this is not your fault. You didn’t do anything wrong and this, this other person, they cannot take away your value. They cannot take away your worth. And ultimately, at the end of the day, although this feels so traumatic and devastating and destructive this doesn’t actually have to define you. Ultimately, you get to decide who you are. You get to wake up and you get a look in the mirror and say, you know, like, I am proud of who I am and I love you and you have carried me through so much. And together we’re gonna, we’re gonna keep going. And you have that power within you. Really it is the choices that we make that define who we are, not so much what happens to us that defines who we are.

Fight The New Drug (36:12):
Well said. That was beautiful and well said. Thank you so much, Elizabeth. Again, to our listeners, please go check out the amazing work that is happening at the Elizabeth Smart Foundation. See how you can get involved. There are plenty of ways there for you to take action, steps to help combat sexual exploitation and to spread some of this education and advocacy and also advocate for healing. So thank you so much for your work. And we’ll talk soon.

Elizabeth Smart (36:42):
Okay, thank you.

Closing (36:49):
Thanks for joining us on this episode of Consider Before Consuming. Consider Before Consuming is brought to you by Fight the New Drug. Fight The New Drug is a non-religious and non-legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful effects, using only science, facts and personal accounts. Check out the episode notes for resources mentioned in this episode. If you find this podcast helpful, consider subscribing and leaving a review. Consider Before Consuming is made possible by listeners like you. If you’d like to support Consider Before Consuming, you can make a one-time or recurring donation of any amount at forward slash support. That’s f-t-n-d.o-r-g-/-support. Thanks again for listening. We invite you to increase your self-awareness, look both ways, check your blind spots and consider before consuming.

Fight the New Drug collaborates with a variety of qualified organizations and individuals with varying personal beliefs, affiliations, and political persuasions. As FTND is a non-religious and non-legislative organization, the personal beliefs, affiliations, and persuasions of any of our team members or of those we collaborate with do not reflect or impact the mission of Fight the New Drug.


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